The 50 best films on Disney+ UK (that aren’t Star Wars or Marvel)
Mike Williams | On 12, Apr 2020Reading time: 11 mins
Despite Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Sky Cinema dominating on-demand movie services, there’s always room for more films. So with Disney+ finally launched in the UK, we’ve rounded up the vast amount of goodness to discover on he platform – and that’s not even taking into consideration the plethora of Marvel and Star Wars efforts (which we aren’t).
These are the 50 best movies available on Disney+ UK:
The Jungle Book (2016)
Jon Favreau’s enormous task of bettering the animated classic was, some believed, an impossible task. However, with state-of-the-art technology and a voice cast including Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, and Sir Ben Kingsley, this remake is unique enough to stand on its own two feet.
The Lion King (1994)
The pinnacle of Disney’s 1990s renaissance, The Lion King has so many elements to make this one of the greatest animation tales ever, including a sterling soundtrack and beautiful visuals, plus what is essentially a roaring retelling of the story of Macbeth.
One of the House of Mouse’s smartest CGI movies to date, this political thriller offers an enthralling story of hope, acceptance and battling against discrimination, as bunny Judy Hopps and sly fox Nick Wilde team up to unravel a government conspiracy.
Pixar’s first major movie needs little introduction, as it saw a new and revolutionary age of CGI animation emerge. It also introduced us to Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), and the rest of Andy’s now-legendary toys.
Pitching the concept of an animated film set in the mind of a child, with her emotions as the characters, was arguably Pixar’s biggest challenge to date. But, as with numerous other ideas, they managed to pull it off, creating a complex, amusing and heartwarming tale of emotional development.
Earth has been abandoned after humans polluted it so much that they left robots to clean up our mess. Cue a beautifully told story of a trash compactor unit that is virtually void of dialogue for the first act, yet conveys everything we could ever need.
The Simpsons Movie
While the legendary show has admittedly had its ups and downs along the way, the movie – which took its time to make its way into cinemas – is a strong feature-length effort that any hardcore or casual fan will admire. Also, Spider-Pig.
Toy Story 2
The animated sequel to Pixar’s instant classic sees Buzz, Woody, Rex, Slinky, and Mr. Potatohead reunite, along with a host of new faces, when a trading collector nabs Woody in an attempt to ship him off to Japan. Another family favourite immediaely etched itself into Pixar’s hall of fame.
Big Hero 6
Disney’s animation crew significantly upped their game after the release of Bolt, with this Oscar winner introducing us to Baymax, a huggable, caring robot. One of Disney’s best efforts to date.
One of the highest grossers ever is now a Disney product, after its acquisition of Fox, so why not enjoy James Cameron’s sci-fi fantasy epic ahead of the long-awaited sequels? It’s strong on its environmental message and boasts era-defining SFX in its creation of new world Pandora.
A monster hit back in 2013, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kirsten Bell) star in a story about sisters learning to accept one another and trust, within a fairytale world of likeable reindeers, talking trolls and distractingly amusing snowmen.
As devastating as its “Just Married” montage may be, Up has a lot of hope woven into a script full of loneliness, heartbreak, acceptance and belonging, as grumpy OAP Carl finds himself forced to get along with annoying boy scout Russell.
Disney kicked off its consistent run of animated films in the 21st century with the story of Repunzel, who escapes her tower prison and embarks on a journey that breaks the fairytale mould.
Street rat Al tries to win the heart of unattainable Princess Jasmine, as he fakes his way into her life with the help of a genie. Robin Williams arguably elevates this stone cold classic beyond its wildest expectations, with a collection of wonderful tunes and dazzling hand-drawn characters.
Toy Story 3
The third part of a then trilogy ends perfectly after creating a prison break-style story that parodies Ocean’s 11 with exquisite execution and boasts a finale to a journey we’ve followed for over 15 years.
During the peak of the House of Mouse’s conquest at the box office, Disney created its first Polynesian princess and hired Dwayne Johnson to play demigod Maui – a partnership masterstroke from this coming-of-age adventure.
Perfectly incorporating the history of video games is challenging for many genre movies, so for Disney to do so here to hilarious effect is a masterstroke, as John C Reilly’s Ralph decides he’s fed up of being an arcade machine bad guy.
Tim Burton’s stop-motion tale follows a boy who sets out to bring his dead dog back to life is a visual, story-driven feast for the eyes. Not your classic Disney fantasy, this darkly alluring animation sways towards quirky horror.
The Sound of Music
The Julie Andrews-fronted marvel may be 55 years old yet needs no introduction – an essential watch for anyone, young or old.
The oldest movie on the list, this unique collection of visual interpretations of classical music is epic in both age (80!) and in that it spans over two hours – but it’s worth every moment, obviously.
The beloved story from P.L. Travers made its way to the big screen back in 1964, making both Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke household names and immortal Hollywood legends.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Not only is this one of the greatest Christmas movies and stop-motion animations of all time, it’s also got one of the greatest soundtracks, courtesy of Danny Elfman, you’ll ever hear.
Hugely underrated, this story of the son of Zeus being stripped of his godly powers to become a real hero is well worth checking out.
Whoopi Goldberg stars in this comedy classic, which sees singer Delores forced to go into hiding as a nun, after witnessing a mob crime.
With a sequel on the horizon, there’s no need to wait for Halloween to enjoy the splendour of three witches (including Bette Middler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker) being inadvertently resurrected to cause mischief by a young misfit in modern-day Salem.
The Muppets (2011)
Mild-mannered couple Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) team up with his lifelong buddy (and Muppet enthusiast) Walter, after Kermit and the gang call it a day. Cue some brilliantly whimsy show numbers as they try to save their iconic theatre from the destructive hands of a greedy oil tycoon.
This poignant tale follows the daughter of an Algonquin chief, Pocahantas (Irene Bedard), who falls in love with an English soldier (Mel Gibson) set during the 17th century colonial invasion of Virginia, is one of Disney’s more mature and emotionally complex stories.
A young girl takes the place of her vulnerable father to fight in a war and become one of the greatest historical warriors. The coronavirus pandemic means that cinemagoers have been denied the opportunity to see the live-action version of this Chinese folk tale. Now’s a great time to watch the splendid 1998 animation.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Another Disney classic sees the age-old fairytale about cursed princes and monstrous transformations brought to life in a love story of a man trying to regain his humanity while falling in love with his imprisoned companion.
Joe Jonhston’s (Jumanji, Captain America: The First Avenger) family-oriented action adventure about a rookie pilot who becomes a masked hero, after stumbling upon a prototype jetpack, predates the MCU and most other modern superhero movies by some 10 years.
Toy Story 4
Not entirely welcomed when it was announced – mostly because the first three formed a trio of sheer, unequivocal brilliance – the fourth story in this franchise surprised us all, as yet another beautiful slice of Pixar came to life in the most standalone Woody and Buzz adventure yet.
Return to Oz
This fantasy sequel to The Wizard of Oz arrived in 1985, 46 years after the acclaimed Judy Garland classic, and sees a reprisal of the original characters, as Dorothy is transported back to the land she once visited.
Turner and Hooch
Tom Hanks stars as Detective Scott Turner in this quintessential 80s buddy cop movie – but with a slight twist, after he adopts a boisterous pooch to help him track down a killer.
Three Men and a Baby
The late Leonard Nemoy directs Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson in this heartwarming comedy that sees one of the three bachelors’ ex-girlfriends leave their baby with the hapless trio.
The Incredible Journey
They say you should never work with kids or animals, but Disney seems to throw that rule out the window at any given opportunity. So a 1963 film about three pets who get lost while on holiday and have to find their own way home is no sweat for them.
A tense and thrilling documentary, this Oscar-winning feat follows Alex Honnold, who attempts to become the first to free climb El Capitan. It’s an emotional and intense build-up to his nail-biting climb – can he do what no other human has?
Empire of Dreams
Not technically a film but this feature-length Star Wars doc is epic in both duration and how intimately it reveals a whole host of behind-the-scenes insights any fan should watch. Fascinating from start to finish.
The late, great Robin Williams stars as a father unable to see his kids after splitting from his wife. Cue a desperate attempt to wrangle more time with them, as he transforms himself into an ageing nanny in one of the most audacious comedies of the 90s.
The Muppets Christmas Carol
Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit as Bob Cratchit, and Miss Piggy as Bob’s wife, Emily. With an array of beautiful and catchy songs spliced into Charles Dickens’ narrative, this is quite possibly the perfect Christmas film.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Bob Hoskins not only stars in this groundbreaking, cartoon-set tale, alongside the iconic Roger and Jessica Rabbit, but also manages to hold it up as a terribly funny crime caper.
This 1990s family comedy propelled Macauley Mulkin to instant global stardom as Kevin McCallister, the boy whose own family forgot to take with them on holiday. Cue criminal duo, the Wet Bandits, trying to break into a home that he decides to defend with everything he’s got.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
While the sequels hereafter tail off into mediocrity, Lost in New York manages to retain the brilliance of the first movie and add some much needed heart into a fresh location, when Kevin gets lost in the Big Apple.
Saving Mr Banks
Despite Walt Disney being a divisive historical character, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson handle the roles of Disney founder and novelist P.L. Travers extremely well when it comes to bringing beloved children’s book, Mary Poppins, to the big screen.
Remember the Titans
Denzel Washington fronts this sports drama that documents the true story of Herman Boone, a newly appointed African-American high school football coach, as they embark on their first season as a racially integrated team. Denzel, as always, delivers a powerhouse performance.
The Jungle Book (1967)
With the live-action version proving a hit, the original still lives up to its reputation, charting the nostalgic, jungle-centric story of Mowgli, a man cub raised in the wild to face the dilemma of whether to stay with his furry friends or reassimilate himself into the world of humans.
Queen of Katwe
With a strong cast consisting of Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga, director Mira Nair shows us how a Ugandan girl’s life drastically alters after she’s introduced to the game of chess.
With all the frivolity and fantasy Pixar has given us over the years, Coco is a pleasing blend of each but has a spine of reality when exploring the ideas of death and belonging to a family. It’s a sweet story, as aspiring musician Miguel literally delves into his ancestral past on Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico.
Disney rarely does wildlife docs, but often creates something special. Here, we follow two families of big cats and how they go about teaching their young cubs the way of the world. Planet Earth, eat your heart out.
National Geographic are doing some of the best work globally, in terms of travel and wildlife conservation, so when it comes to the latter, they’re capable of making some of the most striking documentaries around. Here, the focus is on the animals living in Africa’s Okavango Delta.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Alice finds herself in Wonderland – a beautifully rendered, hand-drawn world – while trying to escape the clutches of the Queen of Hearts. Forget Tim Burton’s live-action venture: this iconic fantasy adventure the only version you need to ever see.
Disney’s movie collection is available on Disney+, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription or a £59.99 yearly subscription.